February 4, 2005

crickl lost her groove

I lost my groove about midway through the Texas panhandle today, driving down Interstate 40. I was typing away at the paragraph below when we stopped at a Love’s travel plaza. We went to make a pitstop and I thought I’d see about a fountain drink. While filling my 16oz paper cup with Diet Dr Pepper, I overfilled and the sticky stuff went down the side causing me to quietly exclaim “Rats!” A trucker standing there said, ‘Better watch that stuff, lady’ *very funny…grr * So I walked up to pay for it and set it on the counter and almost in slow motion, my hand swished by and knocked it over, spilling it all over the girl trying to ring it up and under her register. *grr* The trucker who saw me over fill the same cup was conveniently stationed to my right at the counter and chuckled while saying, ‘You’re just having a lot of trouble with that thing today aren’t you’ ….I gave a polite nod and semi amused smile, then went to refill my cup. Kind of irritatedishly, I jammed it under the ice spout, simultaneously hitting the Coke dispenser, sending a cold stream of sticky Coke syrup down the inside of my sleeve. I was quite proud of myself for not throwing the dreadful cup on the floor and jumping up and down on it while screaming ‘Stupid, STUPID CUP!!! AAAAAAAAAARRGG!!!!’ Instead I found a dispenser of napkins, I took one and about 5 napkins fell out, floating to the floor…..it is not my day…I already have chocolate malt spilled on my kaki pants btw. Just not cool….or graceful….or even remotely lady-like. But I found my sense of humor finally and laughed and shook my head......then I carefully…oh so carefully capped my cup and wiped it off and made it to the counter and out the door without any more humiliation or stickiness. I think west Texas threw off my groove man….seriously….

They really need to put a warning label on that stretch of highway through the Texas panhandle. *Warning: may induce sleepiness with an extreme desire to shut eyelids. Caffeine and loud music recommended.* Soooooooooo flat…..when you see a windmill or farm house on the horizon, you can’t help but have a faint feeling of hope and try to focus on it and memorize it’s details. We’ve been driving all afternoon…it’s close to 5pm and the sun will go down just as we past Amarillo. Amarillo is like a milestone to travelers on Interstate 40. “At least we’ve made it past Amarillo, we should stop at Brahm’s to celebrate….cherry limeades all around…yee haw” lol There are however, a few things to see on I 40. In Groom, Texas you can see the largest cross in the western hemisphere…which kind of makes you wonder where the largest one in the eastern hemisphere is! ……it is made of what looks like aluminum and you can see it from at least 8 miles away on the horizon. I wonder if the guy who thought of this had recurring dreams with a voice repeating hauntingly, ‘If you build it, they will come.’ We stopped there once, it was at sunset and got some really cool pictures of it against the sky lit up with one of those blazing western sunsets. There are the ‘stations of the cross’ around the bottom of the cross done in life size bronze statues and verses on plaques to go with it. It really is a cool place to stop, especially when you’re in danger of road daze and need a break.

Just west of Amarillo is Cadillac Ranch….something that has been there since I was about 12 at least. Eight Cadillacs of ascending years (I think late 50’s, early 60’s models) planted in the ground in the middle of a field, front end in the ground at an angle and right in a row like dominoes. I wonder if that farmer really thinks he’ll get a good crop of Caddies some year. =) There is also a smathering of interesting advertisements….like the predictable humongous cowboy tipping his hat to advertise a motel, several larrrrrrrrrge cow statues to tempt you to eat steak, but when you’ve just driven past stockyards that smell beyond what you’ve ever dreamed of smelling before I don’t think the average person is thinking ‘Mmmmm, gotta get me somma dat’. You could almost taste the air as we drove past the stockyard west of Amarillo today….ish.

Well that’s the news from Amarillo folks….where the cowboys are tippin their hats, the cows are smelly and Brahm’s is always ready to serve up a tart cherry limeade. (In case you recognized that sign off, we also try to find The Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keilor on radio stations as often as possible while driving.)

We are now past Tucumcari and hope to make it to Moriarity for the night. We should be home tomorrow afternoon and I’ll feel more at ease with a few trees and mountains around me, although I enjoy the sweeping skies and mesas and canyons of New Mexico. Strange how the prairie makes me feel so vulnerable and ill at ease. I think this is where they invented the words ‘forlorn’ and ‘forsaken’ ….. my husband loves it though and feels quite peaceful and at home on the prairie. I have no idea how to analyze this…..maybe it’s my more tactile nature and need more scope for the imagination. Maybe he’s just nuts…..we may never know. =)

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